Coming soon: "speed dating" between farms and tractors? The GéoCAN project is offering to act as a matchmaker.
Some farmers can recite a long list of the qualities of their dream tractor: attractive, strong, low consumption (of fuel), etc. However, any healthy and sustainable relationship is primarily based on a sound knowledge of oneself, one's needs and expectations. Can we say that Walloon farms have this knowledge about their mechanisation needs? We respectfully doubt this, because the disparity and complexity inherent in agriculture make it very difficult to study the energy efficiency of agricultural machinery. Research and counselling lack the technical answers needed to help farmers effectively because, as in love, there is no simple, universal rule. It must be approached on a case by case basis...
What if the GéoCAN project could provide this information to farmers, like a good couples counsellor? Not through innate knowledge, but through the installation of two information channels directly on the farm:
- tractor data loggers to quantify all aspects of their activities,
- agricultural management software on the farm computer, taking each context into account.
This digitisation is necessary to determine the mechanisation needs of an agricultural, logistical system as complex as a farm. Using an online Decision Support Tool, farmers will be able to analyse the resources used in their own environments (power, time, consumption), and also to become aware of flaws to be corrected before they can experience a meaningful relationship with their tractors: limitation of idle time, rationalisation of movements, eco-driving on roads and fields, work adjustments, relevance of delegating some heavy work, etc. Finally, the project will enable farmers to find their ideal motorised partner!
The GéoCAN project is currently looking for farms willing to undergo this shock therapy. More information available soon on www.cra.wallonie.be.
Image legend: A datalogger the size of a DVD box can autonomously record all data relating to a tractor over several months.